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Career Profile: Marriage and Family Therapists

Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 73,200 people employed as marriage and family therapists in the United States. The median annual salary is $51,300. Entry level employees earn approximately $33,140 per year and senior employees earn approximately $92,930 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Confer with other counselors, doctors, and professionals to analyze individual cases and to coordinate counseling services.
  • Determine whether clients should be counseled or referred to other specialists in such fields as medicine, psychiatry, or legal aid.
  • Provide instructions to clients on how to obtain help with legal, financial, and other personal issues.
  • Encourage individuals and family members to develop and use skills and strategies for confronting their problems in a constructive manner.
  • Ask questions that will help clients identify their feelings and behaviors.
  • Provide public education and consultation to other professionals or groups regarding counseling services, issues, and methods.
  • Follow up on results of counseling programs and clients' adjustments to determine effectiveness of programs.
  • Supervise other counselors, social service staff, and assistants.
  • Gather information from doctors, schools, social workers, juvenile counselors, law enforcement personnel, and others to make recommendations to courts for resolution of child custody or visitation disputes.
  • Write evaluations of parents and children for use by courts deciding divorce and custody cases, testifying in court if necessary.
  • Provide family counseling and treatment services to inmates participating in substance abuse programs.
  • Develop and implement individualized treatment plans addressing family relationship problems, destructive patterns of behavior, and other personal issues.
  • Maintain case files that include activities, progress notes, evaluations, and recommendations.
  • Counsel clients on concerns, such as unsatisfactory relationships, divorce and separation, child rearing, home management, or financial difficulties.
  • Collect information about clients, using techniques such as testing, interviewing, discussion, or observation.
  • Confer with clients to develop plans for posttreatment activities.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
73,200
Annual Openings:
8,500
Increase in Openings by 2030:
16%
Annual Salary Range:
$33,140 - $92,930
Education Requirements:
Master's degree or higher